|Revolutionary Student Brigade poster, 1975|
|American campus anti-Israel activity some 40 years later, here and below|
The respected American scholar Ruth Wisse has written a lengthy and important article on antisemitism/anti-Israelism on US campuses in which she observes, inter alia:
'[W]hy should anti-Semitism flourish in the sweet groves of academe rather than in the fouler corridors of power? How does intolerance for a Jewish state thrive in the very institutions that advertise their tolerance for threatened minorities?.... On what grounds do American universities, considered liberal to a fault, assail the only liberal democracy in that part of the world?
The question harbors its answer. Israel is attacked not despite but on account of its liberal democracy and its buoyant pluralistic culture: two commodities held in notable disesteem in the nominally liberal but in fact anti-liberal environment of the contemporary American university. The boycotters wrap themselves in the mantle of free speech only to silence those who stand for the kind of genuine individual and human rights that flourish in Israel. They shout down liberal speakers like Israel’s ambassador to the United States just as they shout down and shut out champions of Muslim women’s rights.
In these respects, today’s anti-Israel campus coalitions are heirs to the anti-liberal coalitions that raged in the 1960s against the war in Vietnam and against the traditional American values embedded in America’s constitutional culture....
Wholly negative in its goals—indeed, a prototype of the negative political campaign—anti-Semitism promised and still promises progress not through social reform, which must be seen to keep its promises, but through destruction, symbolized in the destruction of what the Jews have attained.
The anti-Semitic component of modern anti-liberal ideologies like fascism, Communism, pan-Arabism, and now Islamism has allowed alliances to form among otherwise competing groups, thereby facilitating anti-Semitism’s acceptance and normalization and in turn gaining for these ideologies a greater durability than they could likely achieve without it. On the merits, Arab and Muslim students could never have persuaded their American peers to sympathize with repressive regimes and homegrown terrorists; blaming the Jews for these and other deformities was the key that unlocked the door.
In the campus culture of victimhood ... someone must be cast as the invader. It was thus inherent in the “logic” of left-wing campus politics that the anti-American revolutionaries of yesteryear would morph into the so-called pro-Palestinian protesters of today; once Arab and Muslim students began pressing the case against Israel in the familiar terms of victimized natives vs. Western imperialists, they filled the vacuum previously occupied by Students for a Democratic Society. It tells us much that the cause of anti-Zionism, forged and perfected in Stalinist Russia, should have become the strongest legacy of the phony “idealism” of ’60s radicals, and anti-Jewish campus coalitions their logical heirs....'Read the entire brilliant, disturbing, insightful, wide-ranging article here